Saturday, October 20, 2018

[Entomology • 2018] Reinstatement of the New Zealand Cave Wētā Genus Miotopus Hutton (Orthoptera: Rhaphidophoridae) and Description of A New Species, Miotopus richardsi

Miotopus richardsi 
 Fitness, Morgan-Richards, Hegg & Trewick, 2018

Comparison of morphological and genetic data from New Zealand forest cave wētā suggests we should recognise the genus Miotopus proposed by Hutton (1898). A new species within this genus is described (Miotopus richardsi sp. nov.). Both Miotopus diversus (Hutton, 1898) and Miotopus richardsi sp. nov. are common in native forests and widespread in New Zealand. Here we provide their known distributions and key traits

Keywords: cave wētā; cave cricket; Miotopus; Pleioplectron; Rhaphidophoridae

Fig. 10. Living Miotopus Hutton, 1898 in their natural environment.
 A–B. Miotopus diversus (Hutton, 1896), adult ♂. A. Resolution Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound. B. Turitea Reserve, Palmerston North.
 C–F. Miotopus richardsi sp. nov. C. Adult ♀, Brewster Hut Track, Haast Pass. D. Female nymph, Gouland Downs Caves, Kahurangi NP. E. ♀, laying eggs in rotting wood, Brewster Hut Track, Haast Pass. F. ♀, ‘licking’ the slime off a native leaf-veined slug (Pseudaneitea spp.), Raspberry Flat, Matukituki River West Branch.

Order Orthoptera Latreille, 1793

Superfamily Rhaphidophordoidea Walker, 1869
Family Rhaphidophoridae Walker, 1869
Subfamily Macropathinae Karny, 1930

Tribe Macropathini Karny, 1930
Genus Miotopus Hutton, 1898

Medium size cave wētā (body length 11–17 mm) found in forests and caves, on three main islands of New Zealand. The genus consists of two species that are structurally quite distinct from one another, and share some morphological characteristics with Pleioplectron.

 A–B. Miotopus diversus (Hutton, 1896), adult ♂. A. Resolution Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound. B. Turitea Reserve, Palmerston North.  C–D. Miotopus richardsi sp. nov. C. Adult ♀, Brewster Hut Track, Haast Pass. D. Female nymph, Gouland Downs Caves, Kahurangi NP. 

Miotopus diversus Hutton, 1898
Diagnosis A medium sized cave wētā found in forested areas around the North Island, New Zealand, mainly in leaf litter on the forest floor, or in the roots of trees. Dark brown with visible dark and pale bands on the fore and mid legs, it could be most easily confused with the sympatric Pleioplectron hudsoni. However, adult Miotopus diversus are larger (see Table 1), usually appear darker in life, and have small spines on the dorsal surface of the mid tibiae, and are further distinguished from Pleioplectron by spine count and male terminalia.

Miotopus richardsi
 C. Adult ♀, Brewster Hut Track, Haast Pass. E. ♀, laying eggs in rotting wood, Brewster Hut Track, Haast Pass. F. ♀, ‘licking’ the slime off a native leaf-veined slug (Pseudaneitea spp.), Raspberry Flat, Matukituki River West Branch. 

Miotopus richardsi sp. nov.

Diagnosis: A medium sized cave wētā found in forested areas of the South Island, New Zealand with a variegated colour pattern. Similar to Miotopus diversus based on apical spines with the exception of the presence on hind femora of both prolateral and retrolateral apical spines (n.b. this trait was formerly considered diagnostic of Pachyrhamma, see Cook et al. 2010). It is easily identified by the very long legs and the presence of three pairs of prominent, socketed superior spines on the hind tibiae. Female with subgenital plate similar to M. diversus, but differs in male genital terminalia. Notably long ovipositor, as long as or longer than body length.

 Etymology: Named for Aola Richards who studied New Zealand cave wētā and published many important systematic papers from 1954 until 1972.

Josephine L. Fitness, Mary Morgan-Richards, Danilo Hegg and Steven A. Trewick. 2018. Reinstatement of the New Zealand Cave Wētā Genus Miotopus Hutton (Orthoptera: Rhaphidophoridae) and Description of A New Species. European Journal of Taxonomy. 468;  1–24.  DOI:  10.5852/ejt.2018.468

[Ornithology • 2019] Atlantisia rogersi • The Origin of the World’s Smallest Flightless Bird, the Inaccessible Island Rail (Aves: Rallidae)

Atlantisia rogersi Lowe, 1923

in Stervander, Ryan, Melo & Hansson, 2018. 

Atlantisia rogersi colonized Inaccessible Island from S. America 1.5 million years ago.
• Its closest relative is the Dot-winged Rail Porzana spiloptera.
 • The well-supported clade also contains Black Rail Laterallus jamaicensis.
• We advise conservative taxonomic changes: Laterallus rogersi, L. spilopterus.
• Further sampling of the ‘Laterallus clade’ required for a fully resolved phylogeny.

Rails (Aves: Rallidae) are renowned for their extreme dispersal capability, which has given rise to numerous island lineages. Many insular species lost the ability to fly as a response to release from predator pressure—a feature causing rapid extinction when humans subsequently introduced mammals. The world’s smallest extant flightless bird, the Inaccessible Island Rail Atlantisia rogersi, is endemic to Inaccessible Island, Tristan da Cunha archipelago, in the central South Atlantic Ocean. It is placed in a monotypic genus, but its taxonomic affinity, as well as geographic origin, are disputed. Contrary to its suggested Old World origin, we demonstrate that the Inaccessible Island Rail is nested within the mainly South American ‘Laterallus clade’ and that it colonized ≥3 million-year-old Inaccessible Island from South America c. 1.5 million years ago. The taxonomy of rails has traditionally been based on morphology, and convergent evolution has caused many cases of misclassification. We suggest a re-classification within the ‘Laterallus clade’ and call for extended coverage of taxon sampling for DNA sequencing.

Keywords: Colonization, Oceanic islands, Phylogeny, Phylogeography, Taxonomy

Fig. 1. (A) Map showing the location of Inaccessible Island of the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, and distances to continents and islands (the latter not drawn to scale). The approximate range of Dot-winged Crake Porzana spiloptera, sister species of the Inaccessible Island Rail Atlantisia rogersi, is shown with grey shading.

Fig. 1.  (B) Inaccessible Island Rail Atlantisia rogersi (photo: P.G.R.). (C) Dot-winged Crake Porzana spiloptera (photo: Alec Earnshaw). (D) Black Rail Laterallus jamaicensis, which is sister to B and C (photo: Chuck Streker). (E) Galápagos Crake Laterallus spilonota (photo: Jaime Chaves), which is presumed to belong to the same clade as B–D.

 Martin Stervander, Peter G. Ryan, Martim Melo and Bengt Hansson. 2018. The Origin of the World’s Smallest Flightless Bird, the Inaccessible Island Rail Atlantisia rogersi (Aves: Rallidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 130; 92-98.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2018.10.007 

[Crustacea • 2018] Allorchestoides rosea • A New Genus and Species of Dogielinotid Amphipod (Amphipoda: Dogielinotidae) from the Nipa Palm in Thailand, with An Updated Key to the Genera

Allorchestoides rosea 

Wongkamhaeng, Dumrongrojwattana & Shin, 2018

During a scientific survey, a new genus of the dogielinotid amphipoda was found in the Nipa palm (Nypa fruticans) in Bang Krachao Urban Oasis, Samut Prakan Province, Thailand. We placed this new genus, Allorchestoides gen. nov., within the family Dogielinotidae. The new taxa can be easily distinguished from the remaining genera by differences in the incisor of the left and right mandibles, apical robust setae of the maxilla 1, and the large coxa and strong obtuse palm in the female gnathopod 1. The type species of Allorchestoides gen. nov., Allorchestoides rosea n. sp., is described here in, with an updated key to the genera of the family Dogielinotidae.

Order Amphipoda Latreille, 1816

Suborder Senticaudata Lowry & Myers, 2013

Family Dogielinotidae Gurjanova, 1953

Fig 2. Allorchestoides rosea sp. n., holotype, male, (PSUZC-CR-00300).

Allorchestoides gen. n. 

Diagnosis: Male. Mouthparts, mandible, right incisor process four dentate; left incisor process six dentate; accessory setal row present; molar triturative. Maxilla 1 outer plate with six distal setal-teeth. Maxilla 2, inner plate with an enlarged proximal seta; outer plate subequal to inner plate in length. Maxilliped, outer plate shorter than article 2 of maxilliped palp; palp well-developed, dactyl unguiform. Coxal plates 1–4 deep, subrectangular; coxal plate 1–3 posterior marginal cusp absent. Gnathopods sexually dimorphic. Male gnathopod 1 weakly chelate; carpal lobe well-developed; palm slightly protruding at palmar corner, dactylus fitting palm. Gnathopod 2 propodal palm smoothly concave, interior margin lined with pappose setae. Epimeral side plates ordinary, plate 2 deepest. Pleopods peduncle with 2 small retinacula;

Female. Gnathopods 1 and 2 weakly chelate; carpal lobe well-developed, surpassing over propodus.

Type species: Allorchestoides rosea, new species, here designated.

Etymology: The specific name, Allorchestoides, alludes to fact that the new genus is allied to Allorchestes Dana, 1849. The gender is feminine as the gender adopted by its original authors.

Remarks: The new genus is similar to Allorchestes Dana, 1849, from the north and south Pacific, because it has a dactylus of maxilliped unguiform; carpus of male gnathopod 2 lobate, projecting between the merus and propodus; uropod 3 uniramus; and telson cleft that is half-length. However, the 1-articulate maxilla 1 palp in Allorchestes is reduced and tiny, not reaching the base of the setal-teeth of the outer lobe, while that of Allorchestoides gen. n. is absent.

Fig 3. Allorchestoides rosea sp. n. holotype male (PSUZC-CR-00300).
 (A) male body, lateral (PSUZC-CR-00300), (B) antenna 1, (C) antenna 2, (D) gnathopod 1, (E) gnathopod 2. 
Scales bars: 0.5 mm. 

Fig 7. Allorchestoides rosea sp. n. Allotypes, female, (PSUZC-CR-00301). 
(A) Female body, lateral, (B) antenna 1, (C) antenna 2, (D) gnathopod 1, (E) gnathopod 2. 
Scales bars: 0.5 mm.

Allorchestoides rosea n. sp.  

Etymology: This species is named after the distinct reddish color while the amphipod alive (Fig 2).

Type locality: THAILAND, Bang Krachao Estuary near Chao Phraya River mouth (13°41'47.4"N 100°33'52.4"E), Nipa Palm leafs in mangrove forest, 2016, Dumrongrojwattana,P.

Type material: Holotype. ♂, PSUZC-CR-0300. Allotype, ♀ collected with holotype;..

Fig 1. Map of sampling area; THAILAND, Bang Krachao Estuary near Chao Phraya River mouth. 

Koraon Wongkamhaeng , Pongrat Dumrongrojwattana, Myung‐Hwa Shin. 2018. Discovery of A New Genus and Species of Dogielinotid Amphipod (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Dogielinotidae) from the Nipa Palm in Thailand, with An Updated Key to the Genera. PLoS ONE. 13(10); e0204299.  DOI:   10.1371/journal.pone.0204299

[Herpetology • 2018] Calumma roalokoThe Smallest ‘True Chameleon’ from Madagascar: A New, Distinctly Colored Species of the Calumma boettgeri complex (Squamata, Chamaeleonidae)

Calumma roaloko 
Prötzel, Lambert, Andrianasolo, Hutter, Cobb, Scherz & Glaw, 2018

On a recent expedition to eastern Madagascar, we discovered a distinct new species of the genus Calumma that we describe here using an integrative approach combining morphology, coloration, osteology and molecular genetics. Calumma roaloko sp. n. has a dermal rostral appendage and occipital lobes, and belongs to the C. boettgeri complex, within the Madagascar-endemic phenetic C. nasutum species group. It is readily distinguished from other species of the C. boettgeri complex by a characteristic two-toned body coloration and small body size with a snout-vent length of 45.6 mm in an adult male. The osteology of the skull, with a prominent maxilla and broad parietal, is similar to the closest related species, C. uetzi. Analysis of uncorrected genetic distances within the C. nasutum group using the mitochondrial gene ND2 shows a minimum pairwise distance of 11.98% to C. uetzi from the Sorata massif and Marojejy National Park >500 km north of the type locality of C. roaloko sp. n.. Given an apparently small range (potentially <300 km2), located entirely outside of any nationally-protected areas, we recommend this new species be classified as Endangered under criterion B1ab(iii) of the IUCN Red List. The discovery of clearly distinct species like C. roaloko sp. n. in an area of Madagascar that is comparatively thoroughly surveyed highlights the critical role of continued field surveys for understanding the true extent of Madagascar’s spectacular biodiversity.

Key Words: Calumma roaloko sp. n., Integrative taxonomy, Micro-computed tomography, Osteology, Calumma nasutum group

Figure 5. In-life photos of four specimens of Calumma roaloko sp. n.;
(a) subadult male (ZSM 244/2018, KU 343177); (b) the holotype, adult male (KU 343178);
 (c) subadult male (UADBA-R, KU 343167); (d) adult female (KU 343168). 

Figure 6. Posed photos of a subadult male specimen of Calumma roaloko sp. n. (ZSM 244/2018, KU 343177);
(a) Indigo coloration on the rostral appendage and head scalation is apparent; (b) portrait of the same specimen.

Calumma roaloko sp. n.
 Suggested common English name: The two-toned soft-nosed chameleon 
Suggested common Malagasy name: Tanalahy roa loko

Diagnosis: Calumma roaloko sp. n. is a member of the phenetic C. nasutum species group (Prötzel et al. 2016), on the basis of the presence of a soft, dermal unpaired rostral appendage, absence of gular and ventral crests, and heterogeneous scalation on the lower arm, consisting mostly of tubercles of 0.4–0.7 mm diameter. With 44.5–45.6 mm SVL and 85.5–93.7 mm total length in adult specimens it is currently the smallest known species in the genus Calumma. The body of the chameleon is uniquely two-colored with beige/white on the ventral and bright green on the dorsal half. Furthermore, it is characterized by a prominent and distally rounded rostral appendage, occipital lobes that are slightly notched, a distinctly elevated rostral crest, absence of a dorsal crest (or presence of at most two cones) in both sexes, absence of axillary pits, and a unique skull morphology.

Etymology: The specific epithet “roaloko” is a combination of the Malagasy words “roa” meaning “two” and “loko” meaning “color”, in reference to the characteristic two-toned body colorations of males (green and white) and females (brown and tan) of this species. The epithet is to be treated as an invariable noun in apposition.


Figure 7. In-situ photograph of an uncollected (in sleeping position) female of Calumma roaloko sp. n., from the same locality as KU 343168.

Natural history: The specific natural history of Calumma roaloko sp. n. is little-known, but assumed to be similar to other small-bodied Calumma. As with other C. nasutum group species, individuals of C. roaloko sp. n. were encountered sleeping at night on leaves (Fig. 7) or small branches, and most often spotted ~2–5 m above the ground. Calumma roaloko sp. n. may be restricted to higher-elevation habitats, as it has only been found at ca. 1100 m a.s.l., although this is difficult to determine with certainty as most forests below ~1000 m a.s.l. in the area have been cleared. Interestingly, it is known from only two sites, both on the periphery of the forest fragment, and characterized by qualitatively more degraded habitat and/or secondary forest growth as compared to two sites located with more intact primary forest, where it was not encountered (Fig. 4). In summary, either C. roaloko sp. n. may have a higher detection probability in disturbed habitats, and/or may be out-competed in primary forest by close relatives (e.g., C. nasutum complex species that we found in all four sites). Several specimens were observed to have small red acarid ectoparasites (visible on the hindlimb in Fig. 6a).

Distribution: Given current evidence, the distribution of Calumma roaloko sp. n. is potentially restricted to a small fragment (~300 km2) of mid-elevation rainforest that lies outside of nearby Analamazaotra Special Reserve and Andasibe-Mantadia National Park in central-eastern Madagascar (Fig. 4), but within the Réserve de Ressources Naturelles du Corridor Ankeniheny-Zahamena newly protected area. However, we believe that C. roaloko sp. n. may still be discovered in nearby areas, including Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, although it has never been found over dozens of surveys in nearby protected areas over the last century, including our own surveys (Hutter, Lambert, Scherz, Prötzel, Glaw, etc. unpubl. data). It is also possible that C. roaloko sp. n. could be found in other smaller and more fragmented forests located to the west of the type locality of C. roaloko sp. n., south of the city of Moramanga, but recent work in one remnant forest fragment in that area discovered C. juliae there, and no specimens of C. roaloko sp. n. were found (Prötzel et al. 2018).

 David Prötzel, Shea M. Lambert, Ginah Tsiorisoa Andrianasolo, Carl R. Hutter, Kerry A. Cobb, Mark D. Scherz and Frank Glaw. 2018. The Smallest ‘True Chameleon’ from Madagascar: A New, Distinctly Colored Species of the Calumma boettgeri complex (Squamata, Chamaeleonidae). Zoosystematics and Evolution. 94(2): 409-423.  DOI: 10.3897/zse.94.27305

[Cnidaria • 2018] Hana hanagasa & H. hanataba • Stolonifera from Shallow Waters in the north-western Pacific: A Description of A New Genus and Two New Species within the Arulidae (Anthozoa, Octocorallia)

[a - b] Hana hanagasa [c - f] H. hanataba
Lau, Stokvis, van Ofwegen & Reimer, 2018

A new genus and two new species of stoloniferous octocorals (Alcyonacea) within the family Arulidae are described based on specimens collected from Okinawa (Japan), Palau and Dongsha Atoll (Taiwan). Hana gen. n. is erected within Arulidae. Hana hanagasa sp. n. is characterised by large spindle-like table-radiates and Hana hanataba sp. n. is characterised by having ornamented rods. The distinction of these new taxa is also supported by molecular phylogenetic analyses. The support values resulting from maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference analyses for the genus Hana and new species H. hanagasa and H. hanataba are 82/1.0, 97/1.0 and 61/0.98, respectively. Hana hanagasa sp. n. and Hana hanataba sp. n. are the first arulid records for Okinawa, Palau, and Dongsha Atoll, and represent species of the second genus within the family Arulidae.

Keywords: Arulidae, COI, molecular phylogeny, mtMutS, north-western Pacific, octocoral, 28S rDNA, Stolonifera, taxonomy

Figure 2. In situ photographs of examined Hana specimens from
 Okinawa,  a  Hana hanagasa, holotype, OKA170711-15 and b Hana hanagasa, paratype, OKA170711-06;
Palau c Hana hanataba holotype, ROR171225-01 and d Hana hanataba, paratype, ROR171226-03;
Dongsha e Hana hanataba, paratype, DSX180320-1-01 and f Hana hanataba, paratype, DSX180324-3-15
g specimen BKI180320-2-10, an arulid photographed in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Sabah, Malaysia
h Hana hanagasa, holotype, OKA170711-15, colony preserved in ethanol. Scale bar: 1 mm.

Class Anthozoa Ehrenberg, 1831
Subclass Octocorallia Haeckel, 1866
Order Alcyonacea Lamouroux, 1812

Family Arulidae McFadden & Ofwegen, 2012

Type genus: Arula McFadden & Ofwegen, 2012

Diagnosis: (after McFadden and Ofwegen 2012). Alcyonacea with polyps that have tentacles that are fused proximally into a broad, circular oral membrane. Sclerites in the form of table-radiates.

Genus Hana gen. n. 

Type species: Hana hanagasa, sp. n., by original designation.

Diagnosis: Colony with polyps connected through flat and thin ribbon-like stolons. Anthocodiae (retractile portion of polyp) retract into cylindrical to clavate calyces. Tentacles are fused proximally, forming a broad, circular oral membrane. The oral membrane has eight deep furrows, which run from the intertentacular margin to the mouth of the polyp, giving it a plump appearance. Sclerites of anthocodia are rods. Sclerites of calyx are 6-radiates and table-radiates. The main difference between Hana and Arula is in sclerites found in the type species Hana hanagasa sp. n. and Arula petunia in the stolon. Sclerites of the stolon are fused sheets that form a flattened network of table-radiates in H. hanagasa, while in A. petunia they are similar to the separate table-radiates found in the calyx. Additionally, there is a difference in sizes of the table-radiates, being longer in H. hanagasa than in A. petunia. Sclerites colourless. Zooxanthellate.

Etymology: From the Japanese language ‘hana’ (), meaning flower; denoting the shape of the polyps, which resemble flowers. Gender: feminine.

Figure 1. Map of sampling sites at three locations in the north western Pacific;
 a Okinawa Island (Japan) b Dongsha Atoll (Taiwan); and c Palau.

Hana hanagasa sp. n.

Distribution: Northwest coast of Okinawa Island and southeast coast of Iheya Island in the East China Sea.

Remarks: Arula and Hana are the only two genera within the family Arulidae. Arula petunia and H. hanagasa have very similar polyp morphologies with only a clear difference in polyp colour. Oral disk and tentacles of A. petunia are blue in life and white and brown in H. hanagasa, respectively. This would suggest assignment to the same genus, however, the combination of differences in genetic data and sclerite morphology indicate that they should be separate from each other at the generic level. The possibility that there are similar species or previous descriptions and reports on arulid species has previously been discussed (McFadden and Ofwegen 2012) and so far, no reports have been made on possible congeners.

Etymology: From the Japanese language ‘hanagasa’ (花笠), the traditional Okinawan ceremonial dance headpiece worn by female performers; denoting the shape of the polyps, which resembles the flower headpiece.

Hana hanataba sp. n.

Distribution: The south-east of Palau in the Philippine Sea and the north to north-east reef of Dongsha Atoll, Taiwan in the South China Sea.

Remarks: Hana hanagasa and Hana hanataba have very similar polyp morphology, with minor colour differences, which could be due to differing abundances of zooxanthellae. Genetic data and sclerite morphology indicate that H. hanagasa and H. hanataba should be separated from each other at the species level. Sclerites found in H. hanataba are different from those in H. hanagasa in the presence of ornamented rods, which are lacking in H. hanagasa. It is noteworthy that both H. hanagasa and H. hanataba were found in environments with the presence of a comparatively strong current.

Etymology: From the Japanese language ‘hanataba’ (花束), meaning bouquet; denoting the multitude of polyps resembling arranged flowers.

 Yee Wah Lau, Frank Robert Stokvis, Leendert Pieter van Ofwegen and James Davis Reimer. 2018. Stolonifera from Shallow Waters in the north-western Pacific: A Description of A New Genus and Two New Species within the Arulidae (Anthozoa, Octocorallia). ZooKeys. 790: 1-19.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.786.28875

Friday, October 19, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Rising from the Ashes: Resurrection of the Malagasy Chameleons Furcifer monoceras and F. voeltzkowi (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae), based on Micro-CT Scans and External Morphology

Furcifer monoceras (Boettger, 1913)
Furcifer voeltzkowi (Boettger, 1893)

in Sentís, Chang, Scherz, et al., 2018. 

The taxonomy of the Malagasy chameleon Furcifer rhinoceratus (Gray, 1845) is poorly resolved. The aim of this study is to clarify the taxonomic status of Chamaeleon voeltzkowi Boettger, 1893 and Chamaeleon monoceras Boettger, 1913 both only known from single or very few specimens mostly collected more than 100 years ago and currently considered as synonyms of Furcifer rhinoceratus. Using osteological data from micro-X-ray computed tomography (micro-CT) combined with traditional morphological characters and morphometrics we resurrect both taxa from the synonymy of F. rhinoceratus as F. voeltzkowi and F. monoceras, respectively. Compared to F. rhinoceratus, F. monoceras is smaller, has a relatively shorter tail, a longer and thinner rostral appendage, a poorly developed gular crest and no ventral crest, whereas F. voeltzkowi has a smaller rostral appendage, higher casque and the dorsal crest is continuous with the tail crest. Compared to the broad rostral appendage formed by the anterior protuberance of the premaxillary process of the maxilla, which has serrated edges in F. rhinoceratus, F. monoceras presents a long rostral appendage with a smooth dorsal edge that progressively narrows, and the nasal aperture is extended along the elongated appendage; F. voeltzkowi presents a smaller but curved rostral appendage with a crenate edge. The prefrontal and postorbitofrontal approach one another forming a large, laterally closed supraorbital fontanelle in F. rhinoceratus while in F. monoceras they do not approach, leaving a laterally open fontanelle, and in F. voeltzkowi the fontanelle is diminutive. Furcifer voeltzkowi also differs from the similar F. labordi by a smaller size of the rostral appendage, less bulging casque and body pholidosis. The former exhibits a conspicuous white lateral band comprising heterogeneous scalation. Furcifer labordi, on the other hand, has a homogeneous scalation with a remarkable reticulate pattern. Osteologically, the shape of the prefrontal and the connection of the postorbitofrontal with the parietal also differ greatly between the two. Using micro-CT scans we detected key differences that would be otherwise impossible to determine. We also provide a brief morphological and osteological description of the species and strongly recommend efforts to rediscover these two poorly known taxa in order to enable additional studies and to assess their conservation status.

Keywords: Reptilia, Squamata, Chamaeleonidae, micro-computed tomography, skull osteology, synonyms, cryptic species, Madagascar

Furcifer monoceras (Boettger, 1913) bona species

Distribution. The species is only known from the male holotype from Betsako east of Mahajanga. 

Furcifer voeltzkowi (Boettger, 1893) bona species  

Distribution. Boettger (1893: 120) gave the type locality as ‘Antema an der Bembatukabai, West Madagaskar.’....

 Marina Sentís, Yiyin Chang, Mark D. Scherz, David Prötzel and Frank Glaw. 2018. Rising from the Ashes: Resurrection of the Malagasy Chameleons Furcifer monoceras and F. voeltzkowi (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae), based on Micro-CT Scans and External Morphology.  Zootaxa. 4483(3); 549–566.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4483.3.7


[Entomology • 2018] New Species of Dolichopoda Bolívar, 1880 (Orthoptera, Rhaphidophoridae) from the Aegean Islands of Andros, Paros and Kinaros (Greece); Dolichopoda kikladica, D. margiolis & D. christos-nifoni

Dolichopoda kikladica Di Russo & Rampini

in Di Russo, Rampini, Chimenti & Alexiou, 2018.

In this paper two new species of Dolichopoda Bolívar, 1880 from the Cyclades islands of Andros and Paros and one from the Dodecanissos island of Kinaros, are described, increasing the total number of Greek species to 32. The new species from Paros (Dolichopoda kikladica Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp.) and Kinaros (Dolichopoda margiolis Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp.) show strong similarities with D. naxia Boudou-Saltet, 1972 from Naxos forming an homogenous group limited to the central Aegean islands. On the other hand the species D. christos-nifoni Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp. from Andros shows a combination of morphological characters that partly resemble characters found in Evvian Dolichopoda, and partly in species from the Cyclades. Relationships among these three new taxa and the other adjacent Dolichopoda species are discussed on the basis of the paleogeological and paleoclimatic events that shaped the present geography of the Aegean area.

KEYWORDS: Cyclades, Dodecanese, Aegean Sea, biogeography, new species

Habitus female Dolichopoda kikladica Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp. 

 Claudio Di Russo, Mauro Rampini, Claudio Chimenti and Sotiris Alexiou. 2018. New Species of Dolichopoda Bolívar, 1880 (Orthoptera, Rhaphidophoridae) from the Aegean Islands of Andros, Paros and Kinaros (Greece). ZOOSYSTEMA40(20); 469-479.  DOI: 10.5252/zoosystema2018v40a20 

RÉSUMÉ: Nouvelles espèces de Dolichopoda Bolívar, 1880 (Orthoptera, Rhaphidophoridae) des îles égéennes d'Andros, de Paros et de Kinaros (Grèce).  Dans cet article, deux nouvelles espèces de Dolichopoda Bolívar, 1880 sont décrites des îles Cyclades, Andros et Paros, et une autre des îles Dodecanissos, Kinaros, portant à 32 le nombre total d'espèces grecques. Deux de ces espèces, D. kikladica Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp. de Paros et D. margiolis Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp. de Kinaros, présentent de fortes similitudes avec D. naxia Boudou-Saltet, 1972 endémique de Naxos, formant un groupe homogène limité aux îles égéennes centrales. D'autre part, l'espèce D. christos-nifoni Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp. d'Andros présente une combinaison de caractères morphologiques, qui ressemblent en partie à des caractères trouvés dans les Dolichopoda d'Eubée, et, en partie, à des caractères des espèces des Cyclades. Les relations entre ces trois nouveaux taxons et les autres espèces de Dolichopoda proches géographiquement sont discutées sur la base des événements paléogéologiques et paléoclimatiques qui ont façonné la géographie actuelle de la région égéenne.
 Mot clés: Cyclades, Dodecanese, mer Égée, biogeographie, espèces nouvelles

Thursday, October 18, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Lycodon banksi • A New Species of the Genus Lycodon Boie, 1826 (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Khammouane Province, central Laos

Lycodon banksi  
Luu, Bonkowski, Nguyen, Le, Calame & Ziegler, 2018

We describe a new species of the genus Lycodon Boie based on an adult male specimen from Khammouane Province, central Laos. Lycodon banksi sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following characters: (1) SVL 415 mm; (2) dorsal scales in 17–17–15 rows, dorsal scales on the anterior 2/3 of the body length smooth, the six central dorsal scale rows of the posterior 1/3 of the body length feebly keeled; (3) supralabials 8; (4) infralabials 10; (5) loreal in contact with the eye; (6) cloacal single; (7) ventral scales 241; (8) subcaudals 26+, paired (tail tip lost); (9) dorsal surface of body with 87 greyish yellow blotches; (10) dorsal surface of tail with 11+ light bands (tail tip lost); (11) ventral surface of body and tail uniformly grey cream. Based on the molecular comparisons, Lycodon banksi sp. nov. is placed in a clade with other species previously considered to be members of the separate genus Dinodon, except for L. futsingensis. The new species is at least about 9% genetically divergent from other species within this clade as shown by a fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b. Morphologically, the new species is distinguishable by its size, scalation, and colour pattern. This discovery increases the number of Lycodon species known from Laos to eleven species.

 Key words: New species, Lycodon, Laos, karst forest, morphology, phylogeny, taxonomy.

Fig. 2. Adult male holotype of Lycodon banksi sp. nov. (VNUF R.2015.20) in life.
(A) dorsolateral view. (B) Head in dorsolateral view. (C) Head in dorsal view.
Photos: V. Q. Luu.

Lycodon banksi sp. nov.

Diagnosis. Lycodon banksi sp. nov is characterized by the following morphological characters: (1) SVL 415 mm (2) dorsal scales in 17–17–15 rows, dorsal scales on the anterior 2/3 of the body length smooth, the six central dorsal scale rows of the posterior 1/3 of the body length feebly keeled; (3) supralabials 8; (4) infralabials 10; (5) loreal entering orbit; (6) cloacal single; (7) ventral scales 241; (8) subcaudals 26+, paired (tail tip lost); (9) dorsal surface of body with 87 greyish yellow blotches; (10) dorsal surface of tail with 11+ light bands (tail tip lost); (11) ventral surface of body and tail uniformly grey cream.

Etymology. The species naming is dedicated to our friend and colleague Chris Banks, International Coordinator, Philippine Crocodile National Recovery Team, Zoos Victoria, Australia, for his outstanding contributions towards amphibian and reptile conservation, in particular of the Philippine Crocodile. We propose the following common names: Banks' Wolf Snake (English), Banks Wolfszahnnatter (German). 

Natural history. The specimen was found at 20:39, crawling on a limestone outcrop in the karst forest, approximately 0.3 m above the forest floor, at an elevation of 167 m a.s.l. The humidity at the time of collection was approximately 85% and the air temperature ranged from 23 to 26oC (Fig. 6).

Vinh Quang Luu, Michael Bonkowski, Truong Quang Nguyen, Minh Duc Le, Thomas Calame and Thomas Ziegler. 2018. A New Species of the Genus Lycodon Boie, 1826 (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Khammouane Province, central Laos.   Revue suisse de zoologie; annales de la Société zoologique suisse et du Muséum d'histoire naturelle de Genève. 125(2); 263-276.  DOI:  10.5281/zenodo.1414221  

[Paleontology • 2018] Mistralazhdarcho maggii • A New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of Southeastern France

 Mistralazhdarcho maggii
Vullo, Garcia, Godefroit, Cincotta & Valentin, 2018

A series of pterosaur bones from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) of Velaux (Bouches-du-Rhône, southeastern France) is described. This material, including both cranial and postcranial elements found in close association and likely belonging to a single immature individual, is assigned to a new genus and species of azhdarchid pterosaur, Mistralazhdarcho maggii. This large-sized taxon (wingspan ca. 4.5 m in the holotype, possibly reaching 5–6 m in mature individuals) is characterized by a slightly downturned mandibular symphysis that shows a ‘V’-shaped cross-sectional profile and bears a well-developed, anteriorly located median eminence on its dorsal surface. The presence of a median eminence suggests that Mistralazhdarcho might be closely related to Alanqa from the Cenomanian of Morocco. The material described here represents the first partial skeleton of a pterosaur recovered from the Late Cretaceous deposits of western Europe, and the new taxon is one of the most completely known European azhdarchids. Mistralazhdarcho is intermediate in size between the medium-sized genus Eurazhdarcho and the giant-sized genus Hatzegopteryx, two azhdarchids from the Maastrichtian of Romania. The discovery of Mistralazhdarcho suggests the presence of a third azhdarchid size class in the continental ecosystems of the latest Cretaceous European archipelago.

 Mistralazhdarcho maggii 
Reconstruction by Mazan 2018 pour Palaios 

PTERODACTYLOIDEA Plieninger, 1901 

AZHDARCHOIDEA Nessov, 1984  (sensu Unwin, 2003)

AZHDARCHIDAE Nessov, 1984 


Etymology: Genus name formed by a combination of ‘Mistral,’ a strong, cold, northwesterly wind blowing in southeastern France, and Azhdarcho, the type genus of the Azhdarchidae. Specific epithet in honor of Jean-Pierre Maggi, mayor of Velaux, for his support in the development of the La Bastide Neuve paleontological project.

Romain Vullo, Géraldine Garcia, Pascal Godefroit, Aude Cincotta and Xavier Valentin. 2018. Mistralazhdarcho maggii, gen. et sp. nov., A New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of Southeastern France.   Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2018.1502670  


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

[Mollusca • 2018] Sacoproteus gen. n. • Cryptic Speciation yields Remarkable Mimics: A New Genus of Sea Slugs that masquerade as Toxic Algae (Caulerpa spp.)

Sacoproteus smaragdinus  (Baba 1949), 

Krug, Wong, Medina, Gosliner & Valdés, 2018

“Cryptic” can refer to species that match their background through camouflage or disruptive colouration, or in taxonomy to externally similar but unrecognized congeners. In adaptive resemblance, organisms resemble parts of a larger host animal or plant on which the mimic is highly cryptic. Mimetic lineages that radiate onto superficially similar hosts may contain cryptic species in both senses: taxa that are difficult to detect, and challenging for taxonomists to distinguish. Here, we describe a new genus and four species of herbivorous sea slugs (Gastropoda, Heterobranchia, Sacoglossa), including remarkable mimics of toxic green algae (Caulerpa spp.) on which the slugs feed. The long‐recognized Stiliger smaragdinus Baba 1949 is highly mimetic of “sea grapes” (Caulerpa racemosa‐lentillifera), but phylogenetic analyses of four genes indicated Stiliger was polyphyletic: the name‐bearing species grouped within Placida, whereas Caulerpa‐mimetic lineages were phylogenetically distinct. We erect the genus Sacoproteus gen. n. for S. smaragdinus (Baba 1949), and describe four new speciesSacoproteus nishae sp. n. from the Indo‐Pacific, which mimics Caulerpa chemnitziaSacoproteus yhiae sp. n. and Sacoproteus browni sp. n. from southern Australia, which mimic Caulerpa cactoides and Caulerpa gemminata; and Sacoproteus thomasleei sp. n., a non‐mimetic west Pacific species that shared key features. Stiliger s.s. and Placida species show crypsis and aposematism but not host mimicry, although Stiliger spp. feeding on undefended algae may be Batesian mimics. Investigating the ecology and biogeography of Sacoproteus gen. n. will yield insight into how selection generates such extraordinary examples of adaptive resemblance in the marine realm.

KEYWORDS: aposematism, coevolution, cryptic species, heterobranch, mimicry, phylogenetic systematics

FIGURE 1 Photographs and illustrations of live specimens in the Stiliger smaragdinus complex.
 (a) Sacoproteus smaragdinus gen. n. (bottom arrow indicates white rhinophores, body of slug above) and S. nishae sp. n. (top arrow indicates pale green rhinophores, body of slug below) from Malaysia, cryptic on the alga Caulerpa lentillifera. (b) Live S. smaragdinus from Malaysia showing diagnostic stripes on head and pointed ceratal tips. (c) Specimen of S. smaragdinus from the Philippines (CASIZ 199257). (d) Original illustration accompanying description of S. smaragdinus (Baba, 1949). (e) Close‐up of specimen of S. nishae sp. n. from Malaysia, showing mushroom‐shaped cerata and distinctive head markings. (f) Holotype of S. yhiae sp. n. (AM 469592) from New South Wales, Australia. (g) Caulerpa cactoides, a preferred host alga for S. yhiae sp. n., from Bunurong Marine National Park, Victoria, Australia; photo credit: Julian Finn, Museums Victoria. (h) Holotype of S. thomasleei sp. n. (LACM 3496) from Guam; actual body length of specimen = 3 mm


 From their torpedo-like shape to their white tips, the bulbs on Sacoproteus smaragdinus's back look just like the sea grapes of Caulerpa lentillifera.

Sacoproteus gen. n.

We erect the genus Sacoproteus gen. n. for S. smaragdinus (Baba 1949), 

four new species
Sacoproteus nishae sp. n. from the Indo‐Pacific, which mimics Caulerpa chemnitzia

 Sacoproteus yhiae sp. n. and Sacoproteus browni sp. n. from southern Australia, which mimic Caulerpa cactoides and Caulerpa gemminata

Sacoproteus thomasleei sp. n., a non‐mimetic west Pacific species that shared key features. 

Sacoproteus nishae's mushroom-shaped bulbs let it blend in perfectly with the algae Caulerpa chemnitzia.  

Patrick J. Krug, Nur Leena W. S. Wong, Melanie R. Medina, Terrence M. Gosliner and Ángel A. Valdés. 2018. Cryptic Speciation yields Remarkable Mimics: A New Genus of Sea Slugs that Masquerade as Toxic Algae (Caulerpa spp.). Zoologica Scripta.  DOI: 10.1111/zsc.12310

Stunning new sea slug species look just like seaweed via @NatGeo